Color Theory Assignment Suggestions

The assignment suggestions are not listed by age or difficultly level but, of course, the instructor or the person completing the assignments can decide to what degree any assignment should be done

Color Wheels

Practice mixing the 3 primary colors. Draw or print a color wheel and paint the color wheel. Printable Color Wheels

Painting with a Monochromatic Palette

Monochromatic Color Scheme- Paint a landscape, portrait, and still life using one color. (such as shades and tints of blue.)
Examples for still life:
- Arrangement of red fruit and vegetables
- Arrangement of green leaves or, if it is autumn, orange leaves
- Yellow vase of yellow flowers
asylumThe image shown here is a pen and ink drawing by Gogh. One could, for the monochromatic color scheme assignment, draw a landscape, or portrait with paint or ink and a brush using shades of one color.

Color Scales

On Scale Chart II practice painting color value scales. Instructions here. Do one a day for two weeks. Try to do one each for the primary colors. This exercise is surprisingly difficult to get just right. Try to be neat and don't give up.

Painting with an Intensity Scale

Draw an animal. Paint the animal using an intensity scale (a color plus its complement.) You can use tints and shades (white and black) for lighter and darker values.

Self Portraits

Self Portrait 1 - Choose a set of at least 4 analogous colors to paint a self-portrait. It does not have to be realistic. It can be painterly or you can cut out painted pieces and glue them. It can be a cartoon, animé style, a mosaic ... just have fun expressing yourself in analogous colors. Criteria: Use variety in the analogous colors. They do not need to be straight from the color wheel. Variation is interesting (tints, shades, mixes of the colors, and subtle differences)
See possible example of a painting using analogous colors: Edward Hopper - Compartment C, Car 293

Self Portrait 2 - Create another self portrait with only colors from any one of the split-complementary color schemes (below)

Warm and Cool Colors

Two Assignments - Draw two copies of a still life. Paint one copy of the still life using only cool colors. Paint the other copy of the still life using only warm colors.

Painting Using a Triadic Palette

Three Assignments - Create three paintings using a triadic palette. The paintings shall be - 1.still life, 2.landscape, 3.figure painting. You may choose to use any one of the triadic color schemes per painting primary, secondary or tertiary triad.

Triadic Colors

These are the colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel.

Primary Triad
Secondary Triad
Tertiary Triad
Tertiary Triad


Optional Assignment

Finding Color Schemes in Paintings - Look at the color groups below. Look through paintings and try to identify paintings that have a color scheme such as: complementary, split complementary, warm colors, cool colors, monochromatic, primary, secondary, etc.

Color Schemes and Group Terms

Artists can use color groups for their palette to make a visually pleasing color scheme.
Analogous Color Scheme uses any three or more colors on the color wheel that have a color in common and are adjacent on the color wheel.
See possible example: Edward Hopper - Compartment C, Car 293
Complementary Color Scheme uses colors that are across from each other on the color wheel.
See possible example: Vincent van Gogh - Noon: Rest From Work
Monochromatic Color Scheme uses one color and all of the tints, tones, and shades of that color.

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